Airstrikes report: Pakistan, US far from same page

Published: December 29, 2011
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Pakistan Army's detailed reply will
be significant in the
sense that it will set
the tone for future
cooperation with the
US. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Pakistan Army's detailed reply will be significant in the sense that it will set the tone for future cooperation with the US. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

As the US seeks to end its missions in Afghanistan, relations between Pakistan and the US appear to be heading for a crash landing.

The army is expected to issue within a week its detailed response to the findings of the US probe into the November 26 Nato airstrikes which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

There will almost certainly be several differences in opinion.

Although Pakistan had already rejected the report’s conclusions in its initial responses, the detailed reply will be significant because it will set the tone for future cooperation with the US, a military official said.

“The US investigation report is being analysed and a detailed response will be given within a week,” confirmed the official, who asked not to be named.

Indications are that the army will totally reject the findings as questions are being raised about the impartiality of Brigadier General Stephen Clark, who led the US inquiry. “Brig Clark had commanded the same company which was involved in the Salala incident, so how can he be impartial,” the official asked.

Though the US probe has conceded that Nato must accept the major blame for the attack, it found that Pakistani soldiers fired first at American and Afghan forces.

However, the army said that Pakistan’s position was unambiguous: the November 26 attack was “totally deliberate and Nato was solely responsible.”

Army denies that US briefed Kayani

Meanwhile, the army denied reports that the American military briefed army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on its investigations.

Pentagon spokesman Captain John Kirby told the media that a report by military investigators was delivered to Gen Kayani on Sunday by a US officer based in Islamabad, who explained the findings in person.

The full report from the joint US-Nato investigative team was not released publicly until Monday, to allow time for the Pakistani leadership to read it first, Kirby said.

“We wanted General Kayani to be able to see the entire thing,” he said, calling the approach “an appropriate professional courtesy” to Kayani. However, a Pakistani security official told AFP that “no such briefing took place and the report was not handed over in person to the army chief.”

“The report was delivered to the concerned department (at army headquarters) but not to the chief,” the official said.

The disagreement over the facts looks set to be the first of many this week.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Harry Stone
    Dec 29, 2011 - 5:28AM

    This will end badly. It might hurt NATO and America in the short term but long term PAK will be the one who suffers. This is all very unfortunate.

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  • Patriotic
    Dec 29, 2011 - 5:40AM

    “Brig Clark had commanded the same company which was involved in the Salala incident, so how can he be impartial?” I blame the military for a LOT of Pakistan’s problems, including but not limited to corruption, a weak government, fall of Dhaka, extremism, reluctance of foreign investors to invest in Pakistan and uprisings in Baluchistan etc. However, on this issue I support the military. The US went way too far when it attacked our border check post!

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  • mtj mirza
    Dec 29, 2011 - 7:17AM

    Pakistan have suffered enormously supporting USA and NATO over Afghanistan issue. Pakistan should never have supported from day 1 now they are paying heavy price and also the security and sovereignty of Pakistan is in great danger along with the nuclear capabilities. It is high time for Pakistan to stop their support, may be it might hurt in the short or long run no one knows but certainly the integrity and sovereignty would be regained which is a top priority. Unnecessary killings of Pakistani civilian and army’s would end, peace and tranquility would prevail and people of Pakistan would be able to lead a peaceful and normal life once again.

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  • Javed Afridi
    Dec 29, 2011 - 7:42AM

    US and it’s allies are the one who will suffer if things go wrong, both in the short term and long. Pakistan hasn’t left with much from this unholy relationship and thus won’t lose much.

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  • Dec 29, 2011 - 8:12AM

    Now, Pakistanis will start calling Americans liars as if they have witnessed the incidence themselves and know for sure Pakistanis did not fire first.

    The truth is different for different parties.

    One more thing. US said it will complete investigations within one month and it did, what about the Pakistani investigation into 26/11 or how Osama was living in Pakistan or how Benazir was killed?

    The only true investigation of this proportion was the Hamoodar Rehman Commission, which to this day remains Confidential, but available on the Internet, thanks to Indian and Bangladeshi Media.

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  • Mirza
    Dec 29, 2011 - 9:22AM

    Great to see Pakistani generals vehemently denying and contesting the US report point by point. One only wishes that these same generals contest the US claims and “invasion” of Pakistani territory on May 2, 2011. Does that mean all those US claims about Abbottabad were true because no general or govt official contradicted them?

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  • Beatle
    Dec 29, 2011 - 10:17AM

    The Generals are leading us, yet again, towards another disastrous conclusion. The nation has expressed quite effectively its frustration and anger on the issue. We have now to find a way out and continue the business as usual. But it seems to be getting otherwise. If US ivestigation is rejected outright on the basis that they are aggressors, then our investigation (which I doubt we can complete, considering the past experience) could be rejected on the same geound as being effectees. Current situation may hit US interests temporarily, but what about long-term affects on our already shatters economy.

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  • R S JOHAR
    Dec 29, 2011 - 10:36AM

    After being on the backfoot for a very long time, Pakistan got an opportunity to nail US. However, Pakistan shouldnt be carrying it too far since it needs US’s assistance in many spheres and a point of no return would only harm its interest in the long run which should best be avoided.

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  • NA
    Dec 29, 2011 - 10:38AM

    Pakistan has lost so much politically, economically and human life with decade long partnership with US. It is time to choose the other way around.

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  • Salman Sheikh
    Dec 29, 2011 - 11:05AM

    @Harry Stone:
    @BruteForce:
    @Mirza:
    May be you guys missed the episode of Jo Biden?? Taliban is not an enemy of US anymore.

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  • A J Khan
    Dec 29, 2011 - 1:30PM

    @Harry Stone:
    @R S JOHAR:
    All those who think that the US aid helped Pakistan are unaware of the real damages to Pakistan economy, infra structure and reputation.
    1. The transfer of funds is not as it appears in the papers. On ground it is a fraction of what is being propagated.
    2. Most of the money travels back to the corporatocracy of USA in terms of services.
    3. The beneficiary in Pakistan are the same people whom the people of Pakistan wants to throw out of Power. This money perpetuate their rule which add to the poverty of general public.
    4. So by refusing aid, USA will help Pakistan in reducing its debts and weakening its stooges.
    Had Pakistan charged the routine duties on the shipment of goods through Pakistan, it would have earned much more without the stigma of “AID” .

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  • Dec 29, 2011 - 4:12PM

    Times of India has said that the US report indicates “You misbehaved and provoked us and we shot you. If you do that again, the response will be the same” Any truth?

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  • Roflcopter
    Dec 29, 2011 - 5:02PM

    It’s obvious US investigation was a joke. We fully stand behind Pak Army.

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  • lkhan
    Dec 29, 2011 - 10:51PM

    It is good to see the armed forces of Pakistan are making their points clear since the tragic event in November. US reaction if the Pakistan air force had bombed and killed 24 citizens would have been devastating. Looking at this in the same light, especially when Pakistan territory was invaded, when the ISAF forces ought to have informed their Pakistani counterparts of their proximity in the area and did not do so, and then bombed the area in as they thought total impunity for more than two hours – well, I for one think it time that the Pakistan authorities rethink their ties with an ally that lets them down.

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  • numbersnumbers
    Dec 30, 2011 - 5:35AM

    @Roflcopter:
    So you say “It’s obvious US investigation was a joke.” Please post a link where we can all read the Pakistani investigation report, point by point! By the way, would also like to read the Pakistans report on Abbottabads six year guest, Osama bin Laden, and the Pakistani report on the attack on PNS Mehran would also make good reading, though probably all will be available after the next ICE AGE!

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  • numbersnumbers
    Dec 30, 2011 - 5:40AM

    The US report should also say that “Hiding Osama bin Laden at an ISI safe house in Abbottabad for six years was a deliberate act by Pakistan!

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  • Harry Stone
    Dec 30, 2011 - 8:25AM

    @lkhan:

    You do make a good point…. 2 hours.

    Where was the PAK air force? PAK is not a very large nation it does not take an F16 30 minutes to get from its base to the border..

    So what was the PAK military doing? Having tea?

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  • Dec 30, 2011 - 4:47PM

    @Roflcopter: Sir you say “It’s obvious US investigation was a joke. We fully stand behind Pak Army.” You are most welcome to stand behind Pak Army but please elucidate for the knowledge of the world as to how it is OBVIOUS that US investigation was a joke? Is it obvious because Generals told you or some thing else?

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